The Pittsburgh Pirates return home to PNC park after a series split with the Cincinnati Reds which places them in sole possession of third place in the National League Central. On the docket are the Milwaukee Brewers, who have been struggling lately.
With a 4-6 record through their last ten games, the Brewers are now a game behind the division leading Chicago Cubs and three games ahead of the Pirates.
Pittsburgh has stumbled quite a bit themselves with a just three wins in ten games.
The Pirates put up 22 total runs against the Reds, who came into the series with the lowest runs allowed in the National League. Pittsburgh will need to keep the offense rolling because Milwaukee is one of the highest-scoring teams in the NL. The Pirates are still one of the most imbalanced in baseball when looking at run differential (-63).
This will be the first time in 2019 these two teams battle.
Thursday, 7:05 p.m. — Joe Musgrove (3-5, 4.27 ERA) vs. Chase Anderson (2-0, 3.25 ERA)
TV: AT&T SportsNet-PIT
Friday, 7:05 p.m. — Chris Archer (1-5, 5.75 ERA) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (3-6, 4.88 ERA)
TV: AT&T SportsNet-PIT
Saturday, 4:05 p.m. — TBD vs. Brandon Woodruff (7-1, 3.22 ERA)
TV: Fox Sports One/FSWI
Sunday, 1:35 p.m. — TBD vs. TBD
-The Pirates will have to contend with early NL MVP candidate Christian Yelich, who already has 21 home runs with an otherworldly .400 ISO. His strikeout rate is low and his walk rate is high. Very dangerous hitter.
-The Brewers have two other hot hitters in Mike Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal, who both can rake (24 HRs between them) and have above-average wOBAs (.354 and .371, respectively).
-Orlando Arcia and Lorenzo Cain might be the worst hitters on the team right now, both with a below average wRC+ of 91 and 83, respectively.
-Game one will feature Anderson, who has not exceed five innings in each of his last three starts. He worked out of the bullpen earlier this season and has one good start; five innings of one hit ball with no earned runs, at home against the Dodgers back on April 20th. This would be the perfect game to keep the momentum going for the Pirates through the rest of the series
-The Pirates get to face another shaky starter in game two as Chacin is looking to rebound from a horrid 16-inning stretch where he’s allowed eight earned runs. He hasn’t had what could be considered a strong outing since his April 30th start at home against the Rockies.
-The third game of the series will shift gears as the Brewers will put one of the best starters in the NL on the bump in Woodruff. He hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs since his April 21st start against the Dodgers, where he surrendered five. What’s more is Woodruff hasn’t given up a walk in three of his last four starts. In that span his K/BB-rate is 6-1.
-Josh Hader (2.33 ERA, 51.5% K-rate), Matt Albers (4.50 ERA, 28% K-rate), and Aaron Wilkerson (2.18 FIP, 22.2% K-rate) are the better arms coming out of the bullpen. Hader has his ups and downs but the Pirates would do well not to see him more than once in this series. He had 11 strikeouts, two walks, and three earned runs in 9.2 innings against them in 2018.